Andy Reuss, 20, stood in a long line Thursday morning at the Gaylord Hotel in the National Harbor, Md., for the first day of the 40th Conservative Political Action Conference. An an intern in Sen. Mike Lee’s office, the college student said he was eager to meet and learn from people who shared his political passions.
Attending CPAC for the first time, Reuss said he’s excited to hear from some of his political role models, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Rep. Ted Cruz R-Tex., and his boss, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. He sees these Republicans as new party leaders who can make the case for core principles of conservativism: personal liberty and responsibility.
“They have the ability to articulate why they believe what they believe, and get that message out there,” said Reuss. “And [they] explain to people that it’s not conservative in the sense that this is right because it’s the way we’ve always done it. These are the things we want to go for because they work best.”
He spent Thursday morning going to a foreign policy debate, walking around the political exhibit hall, and seeing Sen. Mike Lee speak. At the panel “Too Many American Wars? Should We Fight Anywhere and Can We Afford It,” Ruess said the issue highlighted differences between the older conservative leaders who believe America should be involved in world affairs and new conservative leaders who want to focus their energy at home.
For Reuss, the conference is about the idea that liberty is tied to individual responsibility.
“This freedom is something we need to hold out in front of us every single day, and really take responsibility for. I think that is the core of what we’re all here talking about,” Reuss said.
Over the last couple of weeks, Reuss has felt new energy in the conservative party. And he’s returning to CPAC on Saturday for to see Ted Cruz deliver the keynote address.
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